DTI lauds ratification of PH free trade deal with European countries

By Kris Crismundo

March 7, 2018, 7:52 pm

MANILA -- Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez has lauded the Senate’s ratification of the country’s free trade agreement (FTA) with four European countries - Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.

In a statement Wednesday, Lopez said the Senate’s ratification of the country’s free trade deal with the four countries, which made up the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), is a welcome development as this is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s thrust to improve economic relations with non-traditional trade partners.

On Monday, the upper house approved the Philippines-EFTA FTA.

The Philippines and EFTA started formal FTA negotiations after the concerned  countries signed the Joint Declaration on Cooperation in June 2014.

The Philippines-EFTA FTA was signed by the EFTA states and the Philippines on April 28, 2016 in Bern, Switzerland.

“With this ratification, the Philippines will benefit from expanded trade engagements with non-EU (European Union) members even as it gives us greater access to the European market,” said Lopez.

Philippine products that will have great benefits under the new FTA are in agricultural, industrial and fishery products, which will have zero-duty access to the four EFTA member states.

On the other hand, EFTA products which can enter the Philippine market tariff-free include  most industrial and fishery products as well as market access on goods such as temperate fruits, mineral and aerated waters, food preparations, chocolate, cheese and wine.

The Philippines-EFTA free trade deal likewise promote investments in sectors of renewable energy, computer and related services, construction, environmental services, maritime transport, and finance.

The country’s new FTA will take effect in three months after its ratification by the Philippines and at least one EFTA member state. (PNA)